Going tech shopping for a new screen? As audiovisual installation specialists we mount and set up all kinds of TVs and home theatre systems. We also walk customers through some of the basics of how to use their technology as part of the service! The two most common types of TVs on the market are LED LCD and OLED (now that plasma TVs no longer exist), so which is the better choice?

What’s in a name?

LCD (liquid crystal display) is the most common display you’ll see on screens, whether it’s a TV, phone, monitor or basically any kind of tech. When you walk into a store to buy an LCD TV you will typically see a wide variety of product names including SUHD, Super UHD or Quantum Dot LED (QLED).

OLED (organic LED), on the other hand, has only been around since 2013. It’s often found on TVs and smartphones that are more pricey or luxurious, so if you’re on a tighter budget, you’ll most likely buy an LCD screen.

What’s the difference?

An OLED display is generally brighter than LED LCD. This is because LED screen pixels are displayed using a backlight, whereas OLED screens actually produce their own light (each organic pixel illuminates itself).

When an OLED screen goes black, the pixels completely turn off and produce no light, which is a true representation of black. This means there is more contrast on the screen and the image is more defined – with deeper blacks and crisper whites.

There’s much less contrast on an LCD screen. Parts of a black image can appear more grey than black, because you can still see the backlighting shining through. If you compared the screens side by side while watching a movie, the scenes with shadows would be less defined than on an OLED screen.

Because the pixels are so close to the edge of the thin screen, OLED pictures are also superior to LCDs when viewed from a variety of angles (LCD screens look best when viewed from centre).

While OLED TVs are typically more expensive and targeted towards the high end market, both LCD and OLED TVs produce excellent picture quality. Keep in mind most TVs these days look fine in a sunny room and they will always look their best in a dark room!

What about a projector instead?

You may opt for a projector in your home theatre or living room instead of a TV screen – you’ll notice that the brightness of a projector bulb is measured in “lumens”.

Projectors used for home theatres are generally 1000-2000 lumens, which suits a screen between 6 and 8 feet. On the other hand if you are using a projector for an office presentation you’ll need to consider ambient light in the room in addition to the size of the screen. If you want good contrast and a clear picture it’s best to allow for about 500 lumens per square metre in most scenarios.

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